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Thoughts? E46 or E92

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    Thoughts? E46 or E92

    I was in high school in the 80's and I was addicted to car magazines. That continued into and after college. I Can't remember the exact day, or even the month, but I read a blurb/article in Car and Driver announcing that the "real" Euro spec M3 was coming to North America for 2001. I was single, living at home and working my first real job so the $50k wasn't a big issue. I knew they would be limited, at least at first and the dealer allocations would be gone quick as soon as they were available. I lived in a small town about 90 minutes south of Atlanta, GA, but we had a BMW dealership in town.

    The next day I went to the dealership and asked to speak to the manager (I guess I was a "Karen" at an early age). I told the manager I wanted to put a deposit on his first allocation for a 2001 BMW M3 to be purchased as MSRP. He thought I was a nut, and told me we know nothing about the car, the 2001's model year is a year away, you don't have to put down a deposit. Just come see us once the car is released and we can order one for you. I insisted that I wanted to put down a deposit, and get a letter from the manager giving me position for their first 2001 BMW M3 allotted at MSRP. He finally relented and took my check for $1,000.00 as a deposit.

    Just a few months later the car was officially announced and every allocation in the US was quickly spoken for. Dealer mark up was typically 10K or more over sticker. I stopped by to see the manager to confirm that our deal was still in place. The dealership was only allotted one car, but he agreed that my deposit and letter were still good to buy that car at MSRP. He would let me know once the books opened up so I could place my order. It was going to be yellow with the SMG transmission! Sadly, shortly after that I was laid off from my job. There was no way I was going to be able to finance the car with no job.

    I procrastinated on going to the dealership and asking from my $1,000 deposit back. I didn't want to give up the dream. During that time I noticed that there were people listing their "place in line" to get the new M3 on eBay and Craig's List. Not the actual car, but just their place on the allocation list. So I decided to list mine and see what happened. IT SOLD FOR $10,000! to a guy in the Bay Area. Before he paid, I talked with the dealership to insure I could transfer the allocation, they agreed. We did a 2 way call with me sitting in the dealership to the winning bidder. Once the agreement was made he wired $11,000.00 to my bank account. The agreed price, plus my $1,000 deposit that would ultimately be applied to the purchase. Lucky for him he went with Laguna Seca blue and the 6-speed manual.

    I missed my opportunity to own my dream car in 2000, but the money came in handy while I searched for a job. Eventually I found a job, ironically in the Bay Area, so I moved to California. Two years later, I was ready to buy an M3! I called the dealership to see if they had one in stock. They did. So I headed that way in my 2001 Nissan Maxima 6-Speed manual that I had only had a few months. Let me just say, it was no M3!

    On they way to the BMW dealership I passed a chevy dealership which had a new Corvette sitting out front. I decided to stop and look at it. Then I drove it. It was certainly fun, with lots of torque, but I was still heading to BMW for a new M3. The Chevy salesman asked if I wanted to buy it, to which I said no, it's nice, but I think I am going to go with the BMW. Both the Corvette and the M3 had essentially the same sticker price, and there was no doubt in my mind that the BMW was the better car. Then the salesman started talking discounts, and it got my attention. $6k off the sticker right off the bat. I wasn't interested. Then he came back with more off the MSRP and 0% financing for 72 months! It was at that point I made a decision that I have regretted for twenty years. I bought the Corvette. I mean the BMW was full sticker with some markup and no finance incentives, but I still wish I had never stopped at Menlo Park Chevrolet. Don't get me wrong, the Vette was fun, but it was no M3.

    Now, it's 20 years later, and I live in Manhattan. I do not need a car. In fact, it makes no sense to have one here, but I want one! I won't be using it for daily transportation. I will have to rent a parking space for $300-$500 a month to park the thing, but who cares. It will be worth it for weekend road trips. My dilemma is this; E46 or E92? I am not looking for a garage queen with extremely low milage. I wan't something I can drive. I love the idea of buying the car that escaped me twice 20 years ago (E46), but a high revving V8 sounds like a lot of fun also. Any thoughts? Which car is likely to hold the value more? Which car would likely have the lower maintenance cost? (I realize I am not buying a Honda Accord, it won't be cheap). Which car will be the most fun on the road. I Doubt I would ever take it on a track. Anyway, I just wanted to share my story and get some input from the people who know the most have the valuable experience with these cars.

    Thanks,
    DeeJay520

    #2
    why buy a v8 with the trq of a s54? stroker e46 done

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      #3
      THE SOUND!! :-), I am leaning toward the e46 for sure though.

      Comment


        #4
        Tough call on long-term value, but if I had to guess -- for whatever my guess is worth, which is probably nil -- I'd say E46.

        Maintenance cost will vary greatly depending on the specific examples you look at. However, although the E9x has its issues, it seems to have fewer on average than the E46 -- and notably, no structural issues. The fact that it's several years newer helps, too.

        Which one's better to drive really depends what you like. E9x is significantly more capable in every way, is vastly more torsionally rigid, and has better steering (equal-or-better feel with a quicker ratio). E46 is significantly lighter, and you feel it -- and it's not like it's slow. You really should drive both if you can -- and make sure they both have your choice of transmission, as that will significantly impact the feel of the car.

        Speaking strictly for myself: The reason I went E90 is that I had to have 4 doors. I don't think I'd pick an E92 over an E46. Frankly, even the E46 (stock) feels too heavy and soft for my taste, and if I were to buy a 2-door car, what I'd really go for is a real sports car (Boxster/Cayman, S2000, etc.). The E9x is even heavier and more boatish, and I don't value its advantages (power, grip) enough to feel they make up for the downsides.

        That said:

        1. Some choice suspension mods have brought my E90 to the point that I'm no longer unhappy with it handling-wise;
        2. I value horsepower less and agile/feelsome handling more than most people seem to, so read my comments with that in mind; and
        3. I sure don't envy the structural integrity issues on the E46 side.

        Hope that helps. Good luck!
        2008 M3 Sedan
        6MT, slicktop, no iDrive, 18s

        Öhlins coilovers by 3DM Motorsport

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by 332 View Post
          why buy a v8 with the trq of a s54? stroker e46 done
          I like the S65 because it's revvy and not too torquey -- same reason I like the S54. 🙂
          2008 M3 Sedan
          6MT, slicktop, no iDrive, 18s

          Öhlins coilovers by 3DM Motorsport

          Comment


            #6
            Hi There - After reading your story made me realize one thing, i wish i had the money to purchase the e46 M3 when new, as these things age they will never drive the same as when new even if you rebuild the entire thing.

            I own both cars e92 M3 Dinan S2 which i bought first followed by the e46 m3 which i bought as a DD for beating down purposes, to my surprise, i was wrong, very wrong. Both cars are completely different in the way they drive, the e92 has more electronics and servos working to figure out how fast you want to go while still trying to keep you alive. Its more luxurious, better insulated, less road noise, etc. The e46 on the other hand is more analog, raw, "more mechanical" and less electronics, more alive than the e92 - Its within this concept that i learned to love the car for what it is, a cornerstone of bmw mechanical engineering at its finest.

            Today, the e46 is my DD not because im wanting to drive to the ground as i previously thought but because it puts a smile on my face every time i sit in and drive it. The e92 while fun does not recreate this feeling.

            My suggestion to you good sir, pay attention to your original gut feeling that it will not disappoint.

            Just my humble 2 cents! Good luck with your decision!

            Comment


              #7
              2011 E92 M3 ZCP 6MT with Akrapovic Evolution exhaust versus 2005 E46 M3 ZCP Dinan S1 6MT, if I had to pick one, I would go E46 M3. For me it offers a value that is unmatched for what you pay to get it. Overall build quality in in terms of materials and fit & finish goes hands down to the E46. From my experience, the E46 being the smaller/lighter car feels much more nimble. The braking feel and stopping power on the E46 is so much more confidence inspiring which is probably my biggest gripe when it comes to the E92. The seating position and seat bolstering is far more superior on the E46 as well. The power delivery on the E46 M3 feels a lot more linear whereas the E92 I feel needs an airplane runway to get to use up all the rpm until redline and on the E92 the surge comes on later due to having a relatively low torque V8. The E92 destroys the E46 in the area of pure engine/exhaust sound with absolute audible bliss occurring during rev match downshifts. My $0.02
              Last edited by E46_M3_ZCP; 06-10-2021, 09:39 AM.

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